The University Record, September 16, 1998

Pathways changes how we do business

By Gretchen Weir
M-Pathways

Returning students may not notice, but the University's financial systems changed over the summer. The University reorganized its financial accounting structure and added a computer system for purchasing goods and services. It is a good sign if students and faculty do not notice the arrival of M-Pathways. It means that the new system is working as designed and that staff are able to do their jobs even as they learn new skills. The benefits of the M-Pathways General Ledger and Procurement systems-more efficient purchasing and better financial oversight-will accrue in the coming months.

Since May, more than 2,500 people have learned to use PeopleSoft software to enter information and order reports. Another 1,000 will be authorized to use the system as training continues through the fall. Courses explain the new accounting structure and offer practice in creating purchase orders, requisitions and vouchers on-line. They also describe how to track P-Card activity throughout the month and create financial reports.

Because of the magnitude of the change, every unit across campus had to devise its own transition plans, which, in some cases, reassigned purchasing responsibilities. Purchasing Services provided temporary paper processes for staff not yet authorized to use the computer system. Managers are contending with reports for July and August that straddle the old and new accounting systems. Even processes that did not change, such as reimbursement for travel and hosting, began requiring new accounting codes instead of six-digit legacy accounts.

University staff have had to make an extra effort to attend training and accommodate all these changes while maintaining their normal work load. Their effort has resulted in a remarkably successful transition, according to the M-Pathways Financials Subproject lead Chuck Hawkins.

Congratulations also go to the project team members, say Hawkins and Martha Bhatia, the technical lead for Financials. The General Ledger team includes Pam Fons, Glenna Schweitzer, Tony Burger, Rob Cross, Russ Fleming, Brandy Wood, John Lindner, Debbie Lindsley, Debbie Mero, Brian Moynihan, Daryl Sell, Fred Caryl, Linda Selby, Debbie Gowan, Kendra Dinsdale and Eric Kruse.

The Procurement team includes Jim Peters, Dick Albertson, Jackie Creager, Virginia Geren, Bill Ellsworth, Russ Fleming, Jeanette Frost, Denise Gakle, Bob Klaffke, Marty Parsons, Bob Reske, Audrey Wong, and Steve Busch.

Another M-Pathways transition begins in October, when the University admitting offices adopt a new admissions system. This system, part of PeopleSoft Student Administration software, will expand upon the Student Recruiting system that was introduced last spring.

Helpful hints are on the Web

During the transition, the project has been using its Web site to provide a number of services:

 

Get access (During the transition, the project has been using its Web site to provide a number of services: Get access (www.mpathways.umich.edu/getstart/obtain.html).

 

Download software needed to use M-Pathways systems (www.mpathways.umich.edu/getstart/install.htm).

 

Benefit from Shortcuts: Step by step instructions created by the M-Pathways Help Desk in response to common technical questions (www.mpathways.umich.edu/helpdesk/shortcuts.html).

 

Translate between 6-digit legacy account numbers and the new ChartField combinations (www.mpathways.umich.edu/fin/chartfield.html).

 

Review valid values offered in PeopleSoft drop down lists (www.mpathways.umich.edu/fin/valid.html).

 

Look up course descriptions, directions to training rooms, answers to parking lot questions asked in training classes (www.mpathways.umich.edu/training/).

 

View hours of system operation and explanations of outages (www.mpathways.umich.edu/getstart/hours.html).

 

Learn the answers to current questions as reported by project members, liaisons and the help desk (www.mpathways.umich.edu/helpdesk/currentqs.html).

 

Copy new financial forms (www.umich.edu/~finops/Forms/).

 

Learn about the three M-Pathways reporting environments (www.mpathways.umich.edu/fin/finreport.html).

 

Download software needed to use M-Pathways systems (www.mpathways.umich.edu/getstart/install.html).

 

Benefit from Shortcuts: Step by step instructions created by the M-Pathways Help Desk in response to common technical questions (www.mpathways.umich.edu/helpdesk/shortcuts.html).

 

Translate between 6-digit legacy account numbers and the new "ChartField" combinations (www.mpathways.umich.edu/fin/chartfield.html).

 

Review valid values offered in PeopleSoft drop down lists (www.mpathways.umich.edu/fin/valid.html).

 

Look up course descriptions, directions to training rooms, answers to "parking lot" questions asked in training classes (www.mpathways.umich.edu/training/).

 

View hours of system operation and explanations of outages (www.mpathways.umich.edu/getstart/hours.html).

 

Learn the answers to current questions as reported by project members, liaisons and the help desk (www.mpathways.umich.edu/helpdesk/currentqs.html).

 

Copy new financial forms (www.umich.edu/~finops/Forms/).

 

Learn about the three M-Pathways reporting environments (www.mpathways.umich.edu/fin/finreport.html).

 


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